Where Better Care is a Family Matter

Exercising with Arthritis

An object in motion stays in motion. – Newton’s first law.

Most arthritis sufferers believe that exercising will only exacerbate their painful and stiff joints. However, the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, by not exercising, you’re allowing your muscles and surrounding tissues to become weak, thus creating more stress on your joints.

While it may seem cumbersome at first, exercise can actually help ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. And you don’t have to run a marathon to feel the relief. Moderate exercise can keep you mobile and ease the pain you’re experiencing in your joints.

We’ve compiled a list of exercises that are perfect for individuals with arthritis, and you can do them from the comfort of your own home.

Exercises to Increase Your Range of Motion

Relieve stiff joints and bring about more flexibility and use with these daily exercises:

For shoulders: Roll your shoulders backward and forward together and in rotation.

For arms: Practice slowly raising your arms over your head and lowering them.

For hips: While standing, bend your knee back while trying to touch your bottom with your heel – you can use a counter or desk for support.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Muscles for Joint Support

Strong muscles are critical in supporting and protecting your joints. You build strong muscles with regular exercise, even if just for a few minutes a day. Try practicing these workouts every other day:

For upper strength: While sitting in a chair or at the table, hold a weight in one hand. With your elbow bent at a 45° angle, slowly lower the weight down, then lift it back up towards your arm.

If you’re just beginning, grab a can from your pantry to use as a weight. It may not seem like much, but regular use will build up your muscle strength.

For lower strength: Lie on your side on the floor or bed, keeping the leg against the floor straight. Prop your upper body up by your forearm. With your other leg, bend at the knee and cross it over the leg against the floor, placing your foot firmly on the floor. Slowly lift your straight leg up and down about 6-8” off the ground.

Exercises to Improve Your Overall Fitness

Aerobic exercises will provide you with more stamina and energy, and they can improve your overall cardiovascular health as well. Aerobic exercises that are low-impact are much easier on your joints, and you only need about 10 minutes a day to feel the positive effects. Here are some low-impact aerobic exercises you can try:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bike ride or ride a stationary bike
  • Exercise on an elliptical machine

If you have a pool or have access to one, water aerobics is a wonderful way to keep low-impact while getting in the exercise your body needs to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It’s a great alternative for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as it cushions the joints!

Whatever you do, don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Listen to your body. But don’t let that joint pain keep you from doing the things that could actually make it better!

If you’d like more advice or tips on how to exercise with arthritis, give us a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team is more than happy to answer your questions and advise you on ways you can improve your current condition.

Things to Consider When Preparing Your Will

senior couple with two babies

It’s a topic not many like to think about, but it’s important and necessary to draft a will in order to ensure your loved ones aren’t left dealing with lengthy and often cumbersome Probate issues. When someone passes without a living, valid will, their estate enters Probate where the laws of their state will determine how – and to whom – their personal possessions and property are divided up.

In order to avoid complications for your loved ones after you pass, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when preparing your will:

Create a Summary of Your Assets

While it’s not the only thing to consider when preparing your will, a summary of your assets is a large portion of what you’ll need to cover. This will also assist your family members in locating things like other bank accounts, security deposit boxes, and life insurance policies that they may not know about.

When creating your summary of assets, keep in mind these things:

  • Life insurance policies (include policy number, company they were taken out with, and a contact number)
  • Bank accounts (include account number, bank name, and location)
  • Securities, annuities, 401K, Roth IRA or pension plans (include account numbers, company/institution name, and location or contact number)
  • Safety deposit box (include deposit box number, institution, and location)

You’ll also need to take down important information for your personal property and belongings, including who they will go to upon your death. Make sure you include:

  • Any personal property you own (include location and where the mortgage (if any) is located)
  • Your belongings: household furnishings, cars, recreational vehicles, jewelry, etc. (list out all of your personal effects)
  • Who is the beneficiary – this can be divided between multiple people, but you must state who gets what and how much

Determine Who Will Carry Out the Wishes of Your Will

When preparing your will, it’s important to know you’ll need two things: a witness and an executor. A witness is someone that will not be a beneficiary of your estate, and depending on which state you live in, you may be required to have more than one witness. They are there to sign stating your will is indeed your wishes and that you were of right mind when drafting the document. While not all states require a notarization, it’s always a good idea to get your will notarized.

An executor is the person that will ensure your wishes are carried out as written. This can be a spouse, child, or trusted relative or friend. However, if your estate is complicated, you may want to consider assigning an attorney as your executor.

It’s very important to include in your will that your executor has the power to pay your bills or handle any debts or related issues not outlined in your will.

Make Sure You Aren’t the Only One in Possession of Your Will

While most consider a safety deposit box a secure location to keep important documents, your will should not be one of them. In fact, upon your death, it may not be possible for your loved ones to retrieve your will without a court order.

If you’ve assigned an attorney as executor, they will have a signed copy on-hand. In addition, storing your signed and notarized will in a fireproof safe in your home is a good idea. You should also give a signed copy to a trusted friend or family member to hold on to in case your original is destroyed for any reason.

Check the Laws in Your State

While this list covers a large majority of what you should consider when preparing your will, each state has its own laws in regards to property disbursement upon death. Follow this link to find out how last wills work in your state.

For information on putting directives in place for loved ones in a long-term nursing facility, give Elmhurst Extended Care Center a call today.

April 2019 Newsletter

April is a wonderful month for residents to enjoy activities and the beautiful spring weather, and this month has no shortage of fun activities for residents and their family members at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Check out our latest newsletter featuring the daily agenda, and take a moment to set aside some time to come spend having a little fun with your loved ones this spring.

april newsletter elmhurst extended care center

4 Ways to Keep Your Senior Active This Spring

four-waysToday marks the first day of spring, and with it comes a season of warmer climates, bright greenery and blooming flowers, and the perfect time of year to encourage the seniors in your life to get outside and stay active.

We’ve compiled a list of four different ways you can keep your senior active this spring, and these are all great to carry with them as well throughout summer and into fall!

#1 Get in the Habit of Walking Daily

Regular exercise and activity are important for senior health, and spring is a great time to start forming a habit of taking daily walks. Even if it’s just around the block, or even simply walking back and forth a few times in front of their house each day until they feel they can do more, the act of walking itself will strengthen their muscles and their mind. And the more they do it, the more they’ll be able to walk. As with all things in life, if they aren’t used, they’re lost. So starting a habit now of walking daily is important to keep seniors in good physical and mental health.

#2 Take Games Outdoors

Spring is the perfect season to soak up much needed outdoor time. After a winter of being indoors, the health benefits of getting outside can be wonderful and welcome for seniors. A great way for them to spend more time outdoors is to take their indoor games with them. Enjoying a game of checkers or backgammon at the park allows for plenty of time soaking up the positive effects of the sun’s rays, and it also allows for great exercise in the walk to and from the park.

Looking to keep your seniors’ mind sharp? Have them take a deck of cards to the park to play the game Memory. The cards can easily fit into a pocket, so they don’t have to worry about carrying anything.

#3 Start a Planter Garden

Gardening itself can be quite meditative, but it also offers a great way to get in regular exercise. Not to mention it brings them outside where they can enjoy the sun and colors of the changing season. During the spring, seniors can plant summer flowers, fruits and vegetables in containers. By utilizing containers rather than just planting them in the ground, it offers a variety of ways they’re able to display and tend to their garden. Raised beds or planters in the yard make for better access for those that aren’t able to get up and down as easily.

#4 Find Community Events That Get Them Socializing

It’s quite common for seniors to spend far too much time in their homes, away from society and isolated. This can cause a decrease in mental health and can aid in the progression of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Find events around their community that will get them out of the house and socializing with others. Oftentimes, there are senior citizen centers that offer many opportunities for gathering and enjoying activities. You may also find options for volunteering that your senior would enjoy such as assisting with a local elementary school or heading up a town bake sale fundraiser. Look for community events that your senior will be excited about so that they’ll be more likely to find reasons to get out of the house this spring.

If you or a loved one are in search of short or long term care, consider Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Family owned and operated since 1960, our dedicated and professional staff exhibit care for residents that goes beyond the status-quo. Schedule a tour today to see for yourself the difference at EECC.

“Food is healing, enjoyable, and brings people together.” An Interview with Registered Dietitian for EECC, Christine Fitzgerald.

EECC Registered Dietitian Christine Fitzgerald

The daily meals and snacks enjoyed by short and long-term residents at any skilled nursing facility are incredibly important. Better health, both physically and mentally, and longevity of life often go hand-in-hand with a proper diet. We sat down with our in-house Registered Dietitian, Christine, to find out more about the passion she has in her career and how that pairs perfectly with our residents here at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Here’s what she had to say:

What inspired you to become a Registered Dietitian?

I’ve always had an innate passion for food. I remember rushing home from school to catch the last half of Emeril Live before jumping in to the kitchen to cook dinner with my mom every night. As I became older and involved in athletics, I developed an interest not only in cooking, but in the healing power of food. As a gymnast and swimmer for over 10 years, I was constantly eating to fuel my body and realized that my curiosity towards food was more of a lifestyle than the hobby I initially thought.

Growing up, I was very lucky to have parents who emphasized family meals. Despite our busy schedules, there was always time to sit down together and enjoy a healthy and home-cooked dinner. I learned from a very young age that food is healing, enjoyable, and brings people together. While I didn’t always know I wanted to be a dietitian, I found myself eager to share this love with others and ended up in my first nutrition class.

What things do you take into consideration when planning a menu for residents?

When creating a menu for residents, I prioritize freshness, flavor and variety. I make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy and that our meals are both nourishing and delicious, just as food should be! My go-to when it comes to planning menus is using in-season ingredients to create the freshest and most flavorful dishes possible. I always keep in mind what I would want to eat and strive to make sure the environment is not a barrier against enjoying meals. It’s tough to be away from home. Through physical stress and hospitalizations, many of our residents can feel overwhelmed when they walk through the door.

I’ve found that the quickest way to connect with people is through great food. Taking a little extra time to plan a thoughtful and delicious menu goes a long way towards helping our residents feel at home during their stay.

When a resident has special nutritional requirements, how do you accommodate for those?

Working directly with the residents to fulfill their individualized preferences and nutritional needs is one of the most important parts of my job. The first thing I do is introduce myself to the residents and assure them that their nutritional needs can be met. Typically, residents are eager to discuss meal preferences right away… everyone wants to know what they’re eating! Making that instant connection can really help us get off on the right foot and help new residents feel comfortable. Once the initial interview is in the books, I get to work on communicating needs with my staff and executing requests. With a full commercial kitchen at EECC, we can accommodate pretty much anything!

What are some ways you provide nutritional education to residents at EECC?

Educating the residents is all about individualization. While I enjoy sharing my knowledge of nutrition with others, I recognize that not everyone wants the information. The biggest misconception about dietitians is that we are here to make everyone eat their salad and skip the fries. While a balanced diet is important, it’s not everything. I love inspiring people to have a healthy relationship with food and empowering them to understand there is no such thing as the perfect diet.

With regards to education, some of the residents want detailed information in scientific format. Others prefer a more casual conversation about their lifestyle and ways to achieve nutrition goals at home. I’ve even used food models to help people visualize portion sizes! Nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits all model; Whether it is teaching someone the difference between carbs, protein, and fats, or giving detailed education about dialysis and minerals, nutrition education is intended to best serve the resident and their needs.

Are there ever any circumstances where you work with family members of residents to develop a nutritional plan for their loved one? If so, what does that process typically look like?

Every day! As I described above, I like to meet with new residents ASAP to discuss food preferences and address questions or concerns they may have about their meals. Oftentimes, this initial interview is in the presence of family members and friends. Connecting with the residents’ family members provides invaluable insight from the people who know them best. If a resident isn’t eating well or doesn’t seem to like the food but isn’t vocal about why, in almost every case I’m able to consult a family member to unpack exactly what’s going on.

Whether it’s a missing condiment on the plate, the wrong flavor of juice, or someone who doesn’t like their food to be touching, family members are the best detectives. I often hear that the residents “don’t want to be a bother” to staff so concerns may go unvoiced. We are in business to serve the residents and working with the people who know them the best is absolutely key towards providing excellent care.

What do you enjoy most about your position at EECC?

While I have worked in multiple settings as a dietitian, my time at EECC has already proven to be a wonderful opportunity. My role is both challenging and fulfilling and every day brings about new experiences and opportunities for growth. I love getting to work in multiple settings on a daily basis. Seeing the residents as the dietitian to complete nutritional assessments keeps my clinical knowledge sharp and I get to learn about new trends in science and medicine. Healthcare is very fast-paced and stimulating so experiencing it every day definitely keeps me on my toes!

On the other hand, I have dual responsibilities at EECC and serve as the Dining Director to take on a more managerial approach. I get to work with food safety and sanitation regulations, customizing menus for the facility and I oversee all the procurement and production of meals. Working simultaneously in both avenues is a bit uncommon for a dietitian and has been my favorite part about this role. Every day is a bit unconventional, exciting, and has made me a more well- rounded professional.

Experience the Elmhurst Extended Care Center difference for yourself. Call or stop by today for a tour of our facility!

The Importance of a Certified Memory Care Unit for Your Loved One Suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia

memory care unit

Memory care units offer those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia a safe environment with around-the-clock care. While a standard long-term care facility can provide a home-like environment for residents and patients, it’s best to find a facility with a certified memory care unit when considering where to place your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Memory Care Units Offer Unique Layouts for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

The physical layout of a certified memory care unit is strategically designed to offer the best environment for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The design is created with wandering in mind – a symptom common for patients suffering from these diseases – and minimizes symptomatic behavior while also making it easy for residents to navigate around the unit.

At Elmhurst Extended Care Center, our wander management system within our certified memory care unit allows residents to freely move about the floor while ensuring their safety and security in the area.

It’s important that, although wandering is intended to be minimized in a memory care unit, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are still able to enjoy plenty of movement and stimulation. EECC has designed our unit with two multipurpose areas for dining, visiting and activities. Each area is on opposite ends of the floor, promoting continuous movement and stimulation.

Dedicated, Trained and Experienced Staff Make Up Certified Memory Care Units

As Alzheimer’s and dementia patients require specialized care, it’s important that the staff at your long-term care facility are trained especially for this. Memory care provides intensive, long-term medical care, and as such, the staff in the certified memory care unit is a key factor in the comfortability of your loved one.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center holds our compassionate staff in high regard. They are regularly trained in behavior management in order to maximize each resident’s highest potential. Some of the benefits of our memory care unit include:

  • Developing individualized plans for person-centered care
  • Providing adaptive activities programs focused on each resident’s abilities
  • Striving to reach each resident’s highest potential
  • Encouraging participation in favorite life activities and familiar tasks
  • Assisting family members and loved ones in understanding these complex diseases

Memory Care at Elmhurst Extended Care Center

Through our skilled staff and ongoing training in dealing with these complex and difficult diseases, EECC understands the challenges that you face when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. We offer a monthly Alzheimer’s and dementia support group along with DVDs and other valuable information that can support and assist you with your loved one and their care.

If you’d like to see if the certified memory care unit at Elmhurst Extended Care Center is the right place for your loved one, schedule a tour today.

Worried your loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s or dementia? Here are 7 signs and symptoms.

January 2019 Newsletter

Happy New Year! Elmhurst Extended Care Center is starting the year off right with loads of activities and fun for our residents and their loved ones to join in on. Stop by for craft club, sensory groups, pet therapy and so much more! Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our Family Group on the 29th at 4pm. Also: Those searching for more insight into dementia and Alzheimer’s, EECC has information and DVDs to help families understand the dementia process and Alzheimer’s disease. Chat with Cindy in Activities to arrange time to view these helpful DVDs. For our full schedule of activities, see our latest newsletter below.
elmhurst extended care center

Individualized Care Plans Set Elmhurst Extended Care Center Apart from Other Skilled Nursing Facilities

When considering where to complete your short-term rehabilitation following a surgery or the best place to call home for your loved one in need of long-term care, it’s important to know that priority is placed on individual needs, not a regimented ‘one size fits all’ checklist for each person that walks through the door.

We sat down and talked with Noel Tapia, Assistant Director of Nursing and Care Plan Coordinator at EECC, to find out how Elmhurst Extended Care Center handles the individual needs of each resident. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you enjoy most about developing care plans for each individual that comes to Elmhurst Extended Care Center?

I like developing individualized care plans because it lets me get to know my patients and their history. With the diverse population we serve, it’s important to create a care plan specific to the patients wants and needs. I also enjoy creating care plans with the Interdisciplinary team.

How does the process work for putting together a care plan for a new patient or resident?

It starts with the patient’s hospital diagnosis and their current medication list. Each diagnosis and medication have its own plan of care. The patient is also assessed and interviewed for their preference with care and health needs. Each member of the Interdisciplinary team also creates a care plan for their respective department (Social Worker, Dietician, Activities, and Restorative Nursing).

How do you deal with conflicting demands from a patient, their family, and other health care providers?

We do what is best for the patient. We try to accommodate the family’s demands, but if it’s conflicting with the care then we make sure we follow the facility’s policies and procedures. We seldom have issues with health care providers.

Have you ever come across a stumbling block while coordinating care for a patient? If so, how did you resolve it?

There is definitely a lot of stumbling blocks in nursing. As long as nursing staff continues to provide advocacy to the patient and follow the necessary policies and procedures, then the patients get the care they need. Also, talking about the issues with the Interdisciplinary team can help brainstorm solutions.

What do you think sets EECC apart from other skilled nursing facilities in regards to care plans developed for residents?

Our care plan is individualized. It’s not just the care plan coordinator that creates it, but the entire Interdisciplinary team. The care plans are also revised as patient health care needs change.

If you’re looking for personalized care for you or a family member, give Elmhurst Extended Care Center a call today. We’ll discuss how we can provide what you’re looking for in a way that is advantageous for your health, happiness, and comfort.

December 2018 Newsletter

Don’t miss all the holiday fun this month at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! We have an ugly sweater contest happening on the 19th, a Christmas party on the 21st, and a New Year’s Party on the 31st. Check out our latest newsletter for all the wonderful activities happening throughout the month, and help us welcome Christine F., RD to our team!

december 2018 newsletter

Celebrating the Holidays with Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

holidays nursing homes

The holidays are a wonderful time of year for so many, but for others, it can be an uncomfortable reminder that they aren’t able to enjoy them like they used to. If your loved one has transitioned from independent or assisted living into full-time care at a nursing home, the holidays can be an extra sensitive time where worry of how they will celebrate or wondering if their loved ones will even include them in their celebrations is often the focal point of their thoughts.

It’s important that our loved ones know and feel that they are still a crucial part of our lives, no matter where they reside. From personal experience in watching our residents and their families over the last several decades enjoying the holidays together, Elmhurst Extended Care Center has come up with three very important ways you can celebrate the holidays with your loved ones in nursing homes this season.

Collect Holiday Cards

While your loved one might not have an entire house to decorate for the holidays now that they’re in a nursing home, getting them into the holiday spirit is easy to do by bringing in holiday cards.

Collect holiday cards from their friends and family and find a special place for them in their room at the nursing home facility. Hang them up on the wall or display them on a nightstand or dresser. Whatever you do, make sure your loved one will be able to easily see and enjoy them on a daily basis.

Thinking of putting together a holiday card yourself? Try adding a family photo to yours this year! Having photos of loved ones on display is always a bright spot that makes residents feel that much more at home when they’re residing at a long-term care facility.

Cook Their Favorite Dishes

Is there a specific meal your loved one always looked forward to each holiday season? What about special desserts or homemade recipes passed down through the generations?

While nursing homes do provide excellent, balanced meals focused on your loved one’s dietary needs, the holidays are a time when family traditions and special meals come into focus. Nursing homes residents often feel they might not be able to partake in those traditions any longer, so bringing in their favorite dishes can really make a great impact.

If your loved one isn’t big on surprises, talk with them before you plan to get together and have them help make a menu for the celebration. That way, you’ll know the food items they’re really looking forward to and can ensure they’ll be included.

Make It a Family Affair

If your loved one was used to large family gatherings around the holidays before they moved to a nursing home, celebrating with just one or two people can leave them feeling sad and alone. Talk with the other members of your family and see if you can plan a time where you are all able to come together to celebrate and give your loved one a holiday season to remember.

Check with your nursing home facility ahead of time to see if you can reserve some extra space the day of your gathering where your loved one and guests can feel right at home in your private celebration.

Whatever you do, make sure to celebrate! Even if you’re unable to bring the normal large gathering together, get as many to join as you can, and make the holidays in a nursing home for your loved one extra special this year.

Are you wanting to plan a gathering for your loved one this holiday season and need to reserve space? Give Elmhurst Extended Care Center a call today!